Whale Song

TED Talks in Oceanography Class

I love using TED Talks in my classes. They are inspirational, authentic, and brilliant. We've been studying waves this week - water waves as well as sound waves - and I thought it would be interesting to think about how whale sounds travel through water. In previous years, teaching ecology, I had shown students sonographs of the voices of different birds and discussed with students how the bird voice relates to that bird's environment. I wanted this class to think about marine animals communication through water.
Pilot Whale Vocalizations
 Peter Tyack, of Woods Hole, presented a TED Talk on ways whales use sound and song to communicate across the oceans, and how their voices and behaviors are affected by human oceanic activities.  After watching The intriguing sound of marine mammals, I had the students immediately write down their reactions and thoughts, after which we did a sharing of them. If students were having difficulty starting, or had stalled in their conversations, I prompted with questions, such as: "Why did Mr. Tyack use whales for his study?", "What do you think of the actual sounds the whales make? Why do you think they make that type of sound?", "What methods were used for this research?", "What additional actions could be taken for the whales?"

Whales and Whales:
     For some really amazing photographs of whales, check out Oktay Kaya's photographic journey. Know that none of his photographs have been photoshopped or modified - they are as he took them.

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